Updated on 23 August 2014
Singapore: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig's disease is a disorder that affects thousands every year. In a bid to promote awareness about the chilling symptoms of the disorder, the ALS association struck an innovative chord with people globally. So much so, that even the president of the world's most powerful country - USA was drawn to take up the challenge. However, even as the world is getting soaked in the much hyped 'Ice Bucket Challenge', the initiative has managed to draw negative criticizm too.
The challenge is designed to give the participants a feel of ALS symptoms. In just a few weeks, donations for ALS charities have shot up dramatically, with the ALS Association receiving $41.8 million, both from existing donors and thousands of new contributors.
"There's so many things we can do, with these dollars on the research front," said Ms Barbara Newhouse, President and CEO of the ALS Association. She added, "There is no cure, and patients die after suffering gradual paralysis. White men and veterans are far more likely to develop ALS, but no one knows why."
Though the disease affects millions every year, no known cure exists till date. The challenge is a shot in the arm for the ALS association that advocates for treatment and research for ALS. "However, the dollars are just a few drops in the ocean," said Dr Jonathan Serody, University of North Carolina. He argued, "If a million people would donate $100 a year for 30 to 40 years, you might get a breakthrough for ALS."
Though the challenge appears to be a genius marketing campaign, not everyone is a fan. Some criticism focuses on the campaign's execution, but members of the pro-life community are worried about how the money will be spent.